Randy Thom – a mountain bike and plastic dustpan finale

At the conclusion of his talk at the University of Edinburgh Randy Thom did a quick demonstration on how to generate an organic sound suitable for mixing. He turned a mountain bike upside down (I thought it had been left there by an untidy academic) and got the back wheel going.

He then put a plastic dust pan against the spinning tyre and showed how simple it is to create the sound of an interesting maybe even futuristic machine. Had he had more time I am sure he would have happily got in front of one of the numerous Macs in the room and mixed and filtered something down for the audience.

He made the point that this is a much simpler way than trying to create the sound digitally – the clip that he had shown earlier of The Incredible being chased by flying saucers had sound based on recordings from Formula 1 racing cars. It’s simply easier, quicker and cheaper to record the sound rather than create it in software. Though he did then qualify that by discussing a colleague who is simulating the sound of thunder and the crash of lightening.

Over the course of a couple of hours Randy Thom revealed a glimpse of what the world looks like from the perspective of a highly respected Holywood sound designer – it looks incredible but it sounds even better.


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